Football: Leeds lack only Shearer's killer touch

Leeds United 3 Newcastle United 2

AS LEEDS consolidated themselves in second position in the Premiership, only the lack of a ruthless killer touch suggested that they might not be capable of sustaining that sort of pace.

Two-nil up after a first 40 minutes that David O'Leary accepted should have brought them four or five goals, they were brought back to earth by two from Alan Shearer, but then kept their composure to win it through the previously profligate Michael Bridges.

Although they flirted with the preposterous notion of failing to take all three points, there was so much to admire in Leeds' display. And if they failed to gain their full reward, the movement and understanding between Bridges and Alan Smith was remarkable for two raw talents with only a handful of games together.

Harry Kewell was a threat wherever his free role took him, Lee Bowyer and David Batty provided the central thrust, while Eirik Bakke was a revelation on his full debut.

Until he tired in the second half, the young Norwegian found more space than anyone, set up the first goal for Bowyer and supplied educated and constructive touches all over the pitch. O'Leary also had a handy reinforcement up his sleeve in the shape of Newcastle reject Darren Huckerby, who did much to set up the winner.

O'Leary is still in the market for a proven striker to take on the mantle of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank, but his resources must look impressive enough to Bobby Robson. Shearer has clearly rediscovered his spark - his two clinically taken goals showed Bridges what was required - but he is liable to find himself working in isolation.

Already without the company of the chronically injury-prone Duncan Ferguson, Shearer lost Temuri Ketsbaia with a knee injury towards the end of the first half. Shearer needs help if he is to maintain the momentum of his personal revival and Robson indicated that he will be asking for money to finance some assistance for him.

After the 8-0 romp against Sheffield Wednesday that kick-started their season, Newcastle always knew that this would be a very different test.

Although their defence was over-run in the first half, the Magpies showed the resilience to fight back. Apart from Shearer's rediscovered zest, Kevin Keegan, watching his old club from the stand with his England hat on, would have enjoyed the performance of Kieron Dyer.

He was a restless bundle of energy and ideas throughout. Given any sort of structure about them, he and Shearer can lead a steady climb up the table.

The youth and enterprise of O'Leary's side suggests that it is only going to get better. If it could add remorseless finishing to its many other qualities, it would be formidable already.

Goals: Bowyer (11) 1-0; Kewell (40) 2-0; Shearer (42) 2-1; Shearer (54) 2-2; Bridges (77) 3-2.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Kelly, Radebe, Woodgate, Harte; Bakke (Haaland, 77), Batty, Bowyer, Kewell; Smith (Huckerby, 71), Bridges. Substitutes not used: Mills, Jones, Robinson (gk).

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Barton, Marcelino, Goma, Domi; Solano, McClen (Charvet, 72), Dyer, Speed; Shearer, Ketsbaia (Robinson, 43). Substitutes not used: Glass, Hughes, Wright (gk).

Referee: B.Knight (Orpington).

Bookings: Leeds: Martyn, Radebe, Kelly, Smith, Batty. Newcastle: Marcelino, Domi, Speed.

Man of the match: Bowyer.

Attendance: 40,192.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin